My Barn Twins

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by fxray, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Well, I haven't posted to this thread for a few months, and maybe I should just leave it at that, but FWIW here's a little of what I've been up to. Last year, when I was posting about my trailer, I mentioned using my buddy's post lift to work underneath it:

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    As it turned out, I was the last paying customer to use that lift (though I admit that I didn't pay him very much :lol3). After many, many years, he has closed the station and that lift has been removed and sold to someone over in Iowa. I have roots from long ago with this old gas station, so I wanted to keep some of the signage from it. This involved sneaking more junk home when my wife wasn't looking. See the Service Center sign and the pump topper from this old picture where I was fueling my TR6R a few years ago?

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    Well, crazy as it might be, they came home with me. I spent a couple days cleaning them up and cutting back the finish with some polishing compound. When I spiffed up my basement work room last winter, I two-toned the walls in Shell Gas Station gray and white paint, and put up the signs on the one long wall.

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    The miniature HD Fat Boy (about 28" long x 14" tall) is something that came from a friend in a neighboring town. They were having a city-wide special trash pickup day, and he thought of me when he spotted it sitting on the curb (what does that say about me)? Anyway, it polished up nicely and I built a special little shelf for it, thus finding a use for some of the material that I cut off the sign:

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    This is an amazingly detailed toy motorcycle. It used to have a remote control which would work the lights -- including left or right turn signals, make vroom vroom Harley engine sounds, spin the back wheel via chain drive, and more. Now it just sits there, but it shows that my service center is for motorcycles, not cars. :lol3

    If you have read this thread in the past, you know how scarred the floor was in this work room, and that some of the walls were open studs. There were also only a couple dim lights and almost no accessible electric outlets.

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    I went through all the storage boxes on the shelves, and got rid of a lot of stuff (mostly non-motorcycle crap). Then I juggled things around (numerous times) to make temporary access to sheet and paint the walls, rewire the room, add LED light fixtures, etc. This was a major PITA with five sets of shelves and five motorcycles crammed into that room! I also scraped, scrubbed, and painted the floor. Fortunately, the floor paint did not show lap marks at all, so I could do it a section at a time. I had to allow cure time though, before setting stuff back onto it. This took a long time.

    In the work area, where I knew the paint wouldn't hold up by itself, I added some interlocking rubber mat tiles. That will let me replace individual ones, should I damage them. Beyond that, the mat cushions the floor considerably, even though it's only 1/4" thick. It also insulates the cold concrete floor. I was amazed by the difference it made last winter.

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    So, it's still just the old furnace room, but I did carry the paint all the way around behind the utilities:

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    All this was made possible due to some work we did outside the house last summer, which fixed a damp floor issue that plagued the work room after heavy prolonged rains. That involved tearing up this flower bed outside the wall of the work room to fix a drainage problem:

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    Also a large chunk of driveway, where the bike was sitting in this old picture:

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    It involved enough piping for a small oil refinery:

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    We added a trench drain to flow rain water away from the garage. Previously, the drive was built with side slope, which was not 100% effective:

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    It was a great relief when it was all back together and working. For a while, I had to park a motorcycle off-site in my trailer, because there was no way in or out of the garage.

    So . . . I was going to post a little touristy ride report here, but got sidetracked talking about infrastructure changes. I'll do the RR next time.
  2. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Long timer

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    Looking very nice! Particularly jealous of the Shell signage
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  3. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    Shoulda known that something major was lurking behind the silence.... :imaposer You're not one to let the grass grow between your toes, eh? Kudos, as always, a job extremely/particularly well done!

    :D

    ps....love that little track/dumper. Man, the times I wheelbarrowed cement.... ugh....
    fxray and Texer like this.
  4. washpark

    washpark Adventurer Supporter

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    Good to have you back. Wondering what you were up to. Glad you didn't do a detailed report on the shop remodel. Just taping the sheet rock would probably have taken days given your attention to detail.
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  5. junkcollector

    junkcollector Adventurer

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    :clap nice job Ray.
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  6. David4

    David4 Been here awhile

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    Great work Ray!
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  7. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Thanks for the comments, guys.

    Aside from house work, there has been some riding and wrenching going on around here this year, I guess I just scaled back on posting. My old R90 made it to the MOA Rally in Lebanon, Tennessee, in June. Here are some pictures from that ride, only a couple of months late:

    Since I was riding on my old Airhead, my friend who rode with me broke out his "old" BMW. It hadn't been out for quite a while, and he thought it needed some exercise:

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    He had quite a struggle, but managed to keep up with the powerful R90/6! :lol3

    Some stuff from the parking area:

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    Does this Hannigan kit make his butt look big? Oh well, I bet they ride in comfort on their K1200LT:

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    Inside on display (apologies in advance if these are already maybe 205):

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    This caught my eye, due to its status as a rider, in original paint:

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    A service dog was enjoying the bikes on display, his vantage point being a shelf hung around his human's neck:

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    Oh, we got to watch "Teach" McNeil several times. His stunts can only be believed when seen close up and in person. No -- I take that back, I still don't believe what I saw. He moved too fast to get many pictures, but I took just a couple.

    Note the lack of barricades between him and the observers:

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    . . . even when he had both legs on the LH side of the bike and flat out hauling:

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    And I went to a seminar by Mr. Tom Cutter:

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    On display outside the building:

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    I liked the orange highlights here:

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    Note the edges of the brake discs:

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    Going back down the line of bikes to where we parked, it looked like this:

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    When we got to our bikes, there was a note stuck under the strap on my Krauser bag. Right away, I assumed that, out of all those bikes, somebody had run into mine. Turns out, that wasn't the case at all. The note was from someone I respect and admire. I felt honored that he took the time to leave his business card, and I went away feeling like I had won a prize in a bike contest. I hope he doesn't mind, but I scanned it on both sides and here it is:

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    :wink:
  8. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    After getting home from the MOA Rally in Tennessee, the R90 came due for a new Avon on the back wheel. When it rains, it pours. The Harley FXRS got a new Dunlop on the rear this Spring, and the CL350 got a new Heidenau -- again on the rear wheel -- obviously too many burnouts, eh?. :brow

    While the R90 was on the table for the tire change, I decided to swap out the silencers, and remove the Krauser bag rack. Since I was already wrenching on it, I suddenly got the urge to do a full-on cafe job on this old bike. Why not? So . . . let the teardown begin:

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    Well, uh, no -- that wasn't what really happened.

    I hadn't lifted the seat on this old bike for quite a while. The Anonymous Book and the Airheads Help book in the tool tray were both from 2017. The tool roll hasn't been out even once, and I found my missing tire gauge too. Maybe I should have had a peek under there sooner, because I noticed a new feature -- a crack in the subframe.

    I can't say I wasn't warned not to use the old racks with no diagonal braces to the pillion peg, and not to overload the Krauser bags. I guess I figured it wouldn't hurt for a little while, but that was wrong! :doh

    I first thought about getting somebody to put a slug inside the tube and weld it up, but it cracked on the LH side, right where the taillight harness runs through the tube:

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    In fact, broke would be a better word than cracked :

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    Before checking with a welder, I called around to see if anybody had a spare subframe. @dmftoy1 had one in good shape, and came to the rescue. Thanks Dave!

    The only trouble was I wanted to get the replacement subframe blasted and powder coated to match the rest of the bike, so I picked it up from his place and dropped it off at the powder shop. No big deal to wait on it awhile, because the FXR was up for some last minute work before running it to Tennessee. I realize I had just gotten back from there with the R90, but this was with a different group and a different part of the state.

    Next thing you know, I was once again hanging my hat (lid?) in Tennessee, this time near Madisonville, on the east end of the state:

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    This was the view from the porch of the rental house for the next couple of days:

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    And the bike in the front yard before it was unpacked:

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    More Tennessee / North Carolina pictures soon to come.
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  9. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    :hmmmmm...still trying to wrap my head around that ^ after all the airhead stuff.... am I the m'cycle equivalent of "racist".....??? :fpalm





    :pope


    ...but lovin' the get-out-and-ride-into-this-beautiful-country.... 'Tis all good!
  10. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Bob, I can appreciate your viewpoint. My answer will probably be TLDNR, and will have no pictures to look at, but here goes.

    I have had this '92 Harley FXRS since new. I bought it in 1991, so about 28 years now. I never had the slightest glimmer of appreciation for anything BMW until about 2012, when I started thinking about my R90/6 project. I didn't actually buy it till May of 2014, so I've only had it for a little over five years.

    Over the years, I've known a lot of good people who rode only Harleys, and a lot of good people who rode only BMWs. Although many will disagree, I don't believe it's right to paint either group of riders with one brush. I know several guys who like and own both brands. One example is the current president of our local MOA chapter, who has a newer Harley Road King, and an R75/6. He rides a lot, but told me that he only just got his airhead out for the first time last week.

    For me, personally, I enjoy older bikes. I can appreciate why many people like the modern bikes, but they don't do anything for me. If I could afford a new bike, I likely wouldn't buy one. I don't like all the electronic complexity, the huge catalytic mufflers, the bird's beaks, the wren's tail rear fenders that have all the lights and license plates etc. dangling down like afterthoughts. I don't need the superb performance that the new bikes offer. I just don't care. The old bikes have character; I like the way they look; they go plenty fast enough for me. When I visit a BMW, Harley, Indian, or Japanese dealership with friends who want to stop there, nothing really grabs my attention. I can look at the new bikes, maybe sit on them, but I am the first one ready to leave.

    Just for grins, here is my comparison of my Harley FXRS vs. my BMW R90/6:
    • BMW has better parts support (even though the bike is 18 years older)
    • The R90 has a center stand, which the Harley does not.
    • I can spoon on my own tires onto the R90, but I have to take the Harley wheels to somebody with a tire machine.
    • The Harley is much more comfortable to ride.
    • The Harley, with its rubber mounted engine, has less vibration than the BMW.
    • The Harley shifts far better, far more smoothly than the BMW.
    • The Harley has about 50% more displacement (nearly the same bore size, but longer stroke) than the BMW. Thus, the Harley has more torque and better acceleration.
    • I've had both to 110 mph, but don't normally run nearly that fast, so neither has an advantage for me there.
    • The Harley has hydraulic lifters -- no valve clearances to check or adjust.
    • The Harley has three oil cavities to change, vs. four for the BMW.
    • The Harley has a Kevlar belt rear drive, which I consider to be simpler, more efficient, and thus superior to the BMW rear drive.
    • Though my attitude has changed only recently, I think I like the looks of the airheads better than the equivalent age Harley machines. (I never, ever thought I would say that.)
    In the end, I enjoy them both, with the slight edge going to the Harley. I could be happy with either of them as my only bike. It hasn't come to that yet, but maybe the time is drawing nearer.
    Cogswell, OdyBandit, bpeckm and 2 others like this.
  11. bykpimp

    bykpimp Live and let ride

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    My favorite thread on the interweb. In the early days of this thread you mentioned buying a new exhaust nut wrench and liking it for several reasons. I'm in need of one and your words stuck in my feeble brain. All except the brand/seller that is. I believe you even provided a link. Do you recall?
  12. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Yes, and thanks for your comment. I got that wrench from Jeff Trapp at Northwoods Airheads, and it works well. It's very heavy duty, and fits the fins on the exhaust nuts as it should.

    CLICK
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  13. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Long timer

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    X2 for Jeff Trapp's wrench. It was my first airhead tool purchase.

    Ray - I appreciate the time you take to explain your perspective. It echoes my own in many ways. I just picked up a project that @bpeckm knows about, and is "deviant" relative to the airhead homogeneity of my shop. It as based on the same DNA as your FXR, but not a stitch of it came from Milwaukee. :lol3
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  14. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Jim, I could say that, beyond "deviant projects", there are a lot of just plain "deviants" on here, but I won't. :lol3

    Actually, if homogeneity ruled the day, it would be pretty boring. There are a lot of builds on here that I would never dream of doing, but I still like to read about stuff that others have dreamed up and executed.

    Part of the issue here in my Barn Twins thread is that I have content that really belongs elsewhere, if at all. I kind of did that for my own convenience. I chose the name because I have a number of different bikes that all came out of barn storage, and their only commonality is the number of cylinders in their engines.

    If it bends forum rules, I know that a number of others have done the same thing. For example, there are several wide ranging threads on Old's Cool. So, along with my Airhead stuff, I have content on Honda, Harley, Aermacchi Sprint, Yamaha, E350 Ford, American Hauler Trailer, Harbor Freight lifts and tools, parts washers, ride reports, Cannonball Rally, Museum visits, etc., etc. All of this should be scattered out to a number of different boards, but I guess I've gotten away with it so far. I stuck it into the Airheads forum because that was mainly my focus at the time, and what I hope to get back to, with my Havana Gold R90/6.

    Meanwhile, it leaves poor Bob (and perhaps others) wondering why I'm posting Harley pictures on the Airheads board. Begging everyone's indulgence, here I go again with the rest of the story on our recent Tennessee ride

    We had a nice two day run down through Illinois, a bit of southern Indiana, Kentucky, and a lot of Tennessee, mostly via two lane roads. We had a nice rental house for three days in eastern TN. It was great in all regards beside the driveway, which wasn't big Harley cruiser friendly to say the least.

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    You know those signs on the interstate that say, "Caution! 9% grade ahead, Truckers use a lower gear"? Well, this driveway was about 120 yards of loose, deep-ish, gravel, and parts of it had at least a 50% grade. There were a couple short switchbacks thrown in for good measure.

    Ever tried to take a picture that shows how steep a hill is? It isn't easy. The camera tends to flatten it out to look like any old tame country gravel road. In the above picture, we were at the bottom, while one of the group was attempting a phone pic to show the first stretch of uphill.

    The rest was like this:

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    The orange highway cone at the top was a reminder not to blast into the tree in the middle of the drive.

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    So, we all made it up. My bike was the smallest and lightest, and the only one without floorboards:

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    The thing on everybody's mind was getting back down. A couple of the Ultra Classics got tired enough to take a short nap on the downhill, but there was no serious damage to bikes or people.

    We got out the next day for a ride across the Cherohala Skyway, which was excellent:

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    Visited Deal's Gap:

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    And rode the Tail of the Dragon without making any contributions to the Tree of Shame, which looked burdened enough already:

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    Then it was back to the devil's driveway for the night. The next day, I and one other guy split off from the group because we wanted to head over to Maggie Valley and visit Dale Walksler's Wheels Through Time Museum. The rest of the group stayed to ride some other scenic roads.

    We stopped for lunch along the way, and sat on the outside patio where we could watch rafters coming down the river:

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    Stopped at a campground store for ice cream along the way:

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    Made it over to Maggie Valley, North Carolina, and found the museum, which we knew was closed on Thursday, but were planning to return on Friday morning:

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    Found a little, old time motel in town, where you can still park in front of the room door:

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    That's enough for now. The powder coat man just called, and my subframe is ready for pickup. I'll post some pictures from the museum later.
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  15. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    (Continued from the previous post):

    In Maggie Valley, after booking a motel room, we took off and rode a couple hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs right through there. Then, the next day we spent some time at the Wheels Through Time Museum. The sign in the entry says that if you spend 3 minutes at each display, it will take several days to go through the whole place. I believe that. I'd like to spend a week in that town sometime, and split my time between the Parkway and the Museum. No -- better make that two weeks!

    Here is some of what was there:

    Out front, a statue of the classic kickstarter:

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    This was reminiscent of my friend, @junkcollector, whose kickstarting capability is legendary:

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    Security by Fife:

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    Not a very good picture, but two identical bikes, one raw and one restored:

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    Dale Walksler is a transplant from Illinois. The first couple of times that I visited his museum, it was still in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, behind the Harley Davidson dealership he once ran there. Whether you like Harleys or not, it is a fabulous place to visit if you like history. These American built bikes of various brands are not simply lined up -- there are elaborate vintage signs and artifacts to make each look at home.

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    This is the museum where about 95% of the cars and motorcycles are operable.

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    Speaking of stuff from Illinois:

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    A peek into the workshop:

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    So, that's a small sample of what's there. You could spend a long time on their website (linked above), where there are far better pictures than what I shot.

    Later that same day, we hit the interstate and literally blasted for home. My old bike did just fine, even though I was a little worried about using the original drive belt. I had my MOA Anonymous book and my Airheads Beemer Club Book with me just in case. I figured somebody would have mercy and help out, even if I was on Brand X. I never had to test that theory though (which could have made for an interesting discussion). No worries! I got 53 mpg for the trip, and had no need of a trailer.

    Once back home, I sourced a second rear subframe from @James.A, again at a very friendly price. This one was from a 1981 R100R, which he had hanging in the rafters. I figured I may as well be riding the R90 while I waited for the @dmftoy1 subframe to come back from the powder shop. Thanks Jim!

    It fit right in. The minor differences are longer, improved clips for the side covers, and both seat hinge pins point rearward. That makes assembly a little easier than on my original '74 subframe where the pins point toward each other. Also, the taillight harness is tie-wrapped, rather than running through the inside of the subframe tube. I think that started with the /7's? I picked up some washers and spring clips from Ace Hardware to keep the hinges from sliding off the frame pins, since the later pins have grooves provided for that purpose. If I fix my original subframe, I'll end up with two spares, which might not be a bad idea.

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    Presto Chang-o, the bike is a runner again and the chicken boxes are stacked back up on the bike lift. One thing I noticed is that the bike had developed a metallic clunk when encountering a bump in the road. It sounded like it was coming from the front suspension. That noise went away when I replaced the subframe, so the painful sound must have been the broken ends of the subframe tube under the seat clanking together, sort of like making somebody go jogging with a broken femur. It's all better now, and the powder coated frame may wait till the snow flies to get installed. It hardly shows anyway, with the side covers on there.

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    All four daily riders are roadworthy at the same time!
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  16. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    Ray, my comments were never intended to be anything more than tongue-in-cheek... I have nothing but admiration for your style, your dedication and persistence, to say nothing of your sense of humor.... Yours is always one of my go-to threads, as I can learn AND chuckle. So, as they say in Gaul, Vive la Difference!

    :beer

    Ps: Envious of your time on and with the Cherohala and Tail, a friend with a /5 and I did it all in one day about fifteen years ago, in an absolute downpour.... great memories....at least on that day warn't nobody else on the road!

    edit/pps: thanks for the link to Wheels in Time... next time I'm through there it's gonna be a stop!
    David4 likes this.
  17. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Bob, I know you have no bias, since you and your son have some tuning fork work in your background. I remember you customizing your XS650IIG, but I had one just like yours that I rode stock for 11 years as my only bike. Different strokes for different folks, eh?

    I remember selling my XS650 when I bought the '92 FXRS that I still have. The 650 was perfect when I sold it, but it didn't bring enough to pay the sales tax on the Harley. Within a month, the new owner laid it down twice on a gravel road, and then exploded the engine. I always wished I had kept it.

    I don't think I'd like those roads in an absolute downpour. Glad you survived. I remember a friend telling me long ago about an autumn ride on a densely foggy day with his R60/5 on the Blue Ridge. It didn't sound like a lot of fun. He said there were lots of wet, slick leaves on the road and it was almost like riding on ice. BTW, his black R60, which he still has, was the first BMW motorcycle I think I ever saw. It's a '71, which he bought used in 1972. He's kept it all these years, but has had a series of HD Sportsters along with it. Never anything bigger -- always a Sportster.
  18. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Yesterday, my wife handed me a package from the USPS and said, "Looks like you got some more junk in the mail."

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    But junk is in the eye of the beholder. I had finally gotten around to ordering a set of parallels for measuring bearing counterbore depths on the rear cover of an airhead transmission. I looked for a long time before I found these on eBay. There are tons of them for sale out there that are six inches long and come with six to ten pieces in the set. I wanted only two parallels, long enough to span the rear cover from one side across to the other.

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    The gasket surface around the outside perimeter is the reference or datum surface for taking these measurements. A six inch set of parallels won't reach across.

    The seller's description said, "Made of quality steel, hardened and precision ground to very close tolerances on all four sides. Parallels are finished, packed and sold in pairs.
    Dimensions: 1/2 x 1 x 9"

    I was a little leery of what very close tolerances meant, and I figured these came out of China, but I took a chance on them. It turns out they are from England, and the tolerance they allowed themselves on the surface grinder must have been to get within 1/2 thousandth of an inch (.0005").

    They were wrapped in rust preventive paper and well packaged.

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    I wanted an inch based set, rather than metric, because I have an inch based depth micrometer. A one inch bar would just make it easier to use. So, how close to an inch are these things?

    Pretty close. I'd say three ten thousandths over, or 1.0003:

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    Just for reference, on the narrow dimension, I checked it as .5005, or 1/2 thousandth over a half inch thick.

    We're shooting for a shim stack that limits shaft end-play to .002" minimum / .004" maximum, so this .0003" is not real significant. Of course, it could (should) be taken into account when calculating shim stack thickness. It's sort of "close enough for hand grenades or horseshoes", as the saying goes.

    The other problem was my second-hand, Craig's List sourced depth micrometer:

    [​IMG]

    The price was right, but it only came with the spindle rod to measure from 0" to 1". Obviously, with 1 inch parallels, the depth mic would not extend down into the bearing counterbores to make the needed measurement.

    A while back, I had found a set of rods for my Mitutoyo mic on eBay. The rods were cheap, and they came with a spare thimble for a Mitutoyo mic, but I had no way to check their calibration, especially in view of the fact that I would be sticking them into a different micrometer base than what they had been used with previously. The rods can be individually calibrated, but I needed a master gauge.

    [​IMG]

    Last week, on a beautiful day, I took a ride on the R90 to visit a friend who has a set of Jo-Blocks. The set of rods included a spare for 0 to 1", along with rods for ranges of 1" to 2", 2" to 3", and 3" to 4". Inserted into my micrometer, they all checked right on the money! The spare thimble was off by about .011", but could be put on the micrometer base and then calibrated. It could also be used for spare parts if I ever need them. (In other words, more junk for my eventual estate sale :lol3 ).

    So, this sort of makes it into a set now.

    [​IMG]

    I still don't have a hydraulic press, and have no floor space to set one, but I know people who do. :deal

    I have three transmissions on the shelf.
    • One is from an unknown '76 R90/6, but it has been run temporarily as a loaner in an R75/7, where it worked well and made no strange noises.
    • Another came from eBay with nearly non-existent input shaft splines. The FedEx guy further helped by dropping it on concrete and adding some case damage. That should be repairable with a little Tig welding.
    • The third was run with no oil after the drain plug fell out. Who knows what that may look like inside, but the price was right.
    Meanwhile, my '74 R90/6 is running with the kickstart transmission it was born with. It's all good except it sings a little in 3rd and 4th gear. In 3rd, if I am slowing down against engine compression, the bearing will start in with a fast pitched, "wah-wah-wah-wah." A little throttle, to put thrust in the other direction, and the noise goes away. In fourth gear, at higher rpm, it starts in with a slow paced droning sound, "wah . . . wah . . . wah . . . wah."

    None of this is real loud, like I doubt if anyone could hear it as I ride past them; I can hear it on the bike with my helmet on. It's probably running on borrowed time, but right now I just don't linger in those gears. With my parallels and depth mic, I am inching closer to putting in the good spare box, and trying to replace some bearings in the box from the bike. Those other two spares would make good practice jobs and may even turn out to be usable.

    Now all I need is some ambition. :D
  19. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    4,387
    Location:
    Pocono Mountains, PA
    I bought the plate AND parallels from Dan at Cycleworks, but have yet to apply them to the patient.

    I see your parallels are labeled Teterboro NJ. MY son went to aviation school for his A/P at Teterboro airport (TSA).

    I still have my '79 box apart, waiting for me to either find a 1mm carbide cutter to reproduce the circlip groove in the output shaft, or send the shaft off to someone to cut it for me. My old machinist friend is now too ill to take on work. :(
    fxray likes this.
  20. fxray

    fxray Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,384
    Location:
    Illinois, USA
    ^^^Hi Jim. Yep, I also bought the plate from Dan, and his parallels are very reasonable at $15 a pair. Thing is, those are 6 inches long, and his page says that they will be "Matched within 0.0003" in heights of either 1", 1 1/4", 1 1/2" or 1 3/4" (my choice as to which height you get)."

    I didn't like that last part. I may order some shims from him, though.

    Good luck with that circlip groove. I know you'll get it done.